KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The holiday spirit has left and spring is still at least six more weeks away, plus with Valentine’s Day around the corner, people may feel a lot less joyful. More than 3 million people suffer this time of year, with a case of the ‘winter blues,’ a local author, Cindi Cohn states. She’s the bestselling author of More Joy and a professional counselor.

“There is hope! True joy has less to do with outside conditions, and more to do with people’s minds and that is great news,” Cohn said.

Here are tips that Cohn believe’s can promote self-love and bring more joy:

  • Give yourself the gift of time
    Spend 30 minutes a day focusing on your own needs, hobby, or focus that makes you feel pleasure or enjoyment. Avoid any feelings of guilt, as you deserve this time- own it and enjoy!
  • Forgive yourself
    No one is perfect. Move forward. Stop shaming yourself and realize mistakes are part of growth and life. No need to punish yourself mentally. Take time to show yourself love, compassion, and forgiveness.
  • Start a Gratitude journal
    Write down 3-5 things per day you’re grateful for. This will help train your brain to be more positive and see the joy in the little things- which truly are the big things in life. Also, add activities that bring you joy into your weekly calendar.
  • Cease comparisons ASAP
    Stop comparing yourself to others. You were perfectly designed to be you. Your journey is for you. You truly have no idea what others are dealing with, as not everything you see on social media is authentic and true.
  • Just say NO! 
    As tough as it may be, setting boundaries is paramount to having more self -love. You can’t be making everyone else happy, at the expense of yourself. Setting boundaries lets others know what you expect, gain respect, and control over your time and prioritizing your own needs/schedule. 

When it comes to joy overall, Cohn shared these additional tips:

  • Spruce Up Your Space
    If you find yourself feeling down, change things up in your immediate surroundings.Decorate your home in bright colors, add inspirational decor to your office, and even add some scented candles to release dopamine, lower cortisol and create more peace. And don’t forget to add plants!
  • Let Your Inner Child Out
    Research suggests that connecting to your inner child as an adult may be beneficial to find healing, restore joy in your life, and help you find purpose. Make a snow angel, sing at the top of your lungs, take long bubble baths, and tap into your creativity. Creating is proven to release stress and inflate mood.
  • Scatter Joy
    Studies have shown that helping others triggers the reward center in our brain creating more joy for yourself, as well as others. Bake your favorite cookies, or a soup or bread, and give to a neighbor, your postal carrier, or anyone in your life. Can’t bake? Bring food cans and blankets to your local pet shelter or homeless shelters.
  • Mindset Makeover
    Research shows that our mindset plays a significant role in how we view our lives. Create a gratitude list that will remind you of all you do have today to feel joyful about. Focus on the little things, which are truly the BIG things in life. What you focus on will expand and bring you into the present and a joyful mindset.
  • Go Old School 
    Studies show that 58% of people say that social media negatively affects their mental health. Take a social media break for the month and focus on time with your family, hobbies, or read. And don’t forget to call an uplifting friend, invite someone over for coffee, and enjoy the present slowdown. 

For more information on Cohn or her book, More Joy, visit her website.